- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 1, 2017

Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov joked about joint Russian-Chinese drills in the strategic and volatile Baltic Sea, saying the maneuvers were a “novelty.”

“There is a point of novelty, but I haven’t heard anyone expressing much concern over this so-called ‘threat.’ The Baltic States repeat their usual incantations, but at the same time, they take for granted the fact that NATO is deploying large forces on their territory,” the Russian ambassador said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has NATO commanders worried as it becomes more and more militarized. Moscow recently deployed the highly accurate Iskander missile to the region which has a 500 km range and can carry a nuclear warhead. The powerful forces stationed in Kaliningrad give the Kremlin the ability to cut off the former-Soviet, Baltic nations from the rest of the alliance. NATO has recently deployed armored brigades in Eastern Europe to act as a deterrent to any idea Moscow may have about reclaiming the Baltic states.

China has deployed a fleet of ships and Marines to the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad to exercise with Russian forces.

“Those who are scared off are inclined to being scared,” he said. “For instance, I have seen an article on the internet, written by some Swedish military analysts. They say that they see no threat in it,” Denisov noted. “The main thing is that rules concerning such events should be respected,” the Russian ambassador added, reported TASS.

Russia and China have exercised jointly in the Pacific as well; the Russian ambassador the cooperation has reached ‘an advanced level.’ “China is interested in ocean navigation, it is kind of a long-distance cruise for them,” the Russian ambassador to China said.

• L. Todd Wood can be reached at ltwood@123washingtontimes.com.

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